Kairys told BNS by phone from Thessaloniki the crash was caused by an engine failure of his personal plane SU-26 at the altitude of 1,000 meters at around 4 PM local time during a flight from Kavala to Athens. He had to parachute jump and landed in the sea.
"There was an unexpected engine failure around half an hour after I took off from Kavala. (…) I had to wait for about two hours and 40 minutes. Not to wait, to be more precise, I was swimming towards an island and thought I would get there in the morning. But I was swimming very slowly as clothes obstructed. I tied myself to a part of the plane to be more visible," Kairys told BNS.
A rescue helicopter arrived after almost three hours but it flew twice over the wreckage and initially missed the pilot.
Kairys was recognized as the best master of unlimited flights in the world in 1996-2006.